PAP President commends Speakers of African Parliaments


Speaking at the opening of the 11th Conference of Speakers of African Parliaments, the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) President, H.E. Senator Chief Fortune Charumbira commended the key role played by Speakers of African Parliaments in shaping, supporting and strengthening the existence of PAP.

Held at the ongoing August Sittings of the Permanent Committees of the sixth Parliament of the PAP in Midrand, South Africa, the Conference is guided by the African Union (AU) theme for 2022: “Building resilience in nutrition on the African continent: Accelerate the human capital, social and economic development”.

The Conference seeks to promote coordination and harmonisation of parliamentary action and advocacy in relation to the national and regional implementation of the African Union theme of the Year 2022, ratification of African Union treaties, particularly the Malabo Protocol and sustainable responses to the socio-economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 “I must not fail to express my utmost gratitude for your presence here today despite the numerous challenging demands to your already crowded schedule in your respective Parliaments and the huge financial sacrifices,” said H.E Charumbira.

“Your presence truly reflects your commitment to revitalize the fabric of our democratic institution and most profoundly demonstrates a remarkable devotion to building institutional resilience and determination for sustainable development in our continent through collective parliamentary collaborations. We wish to also express our profound gratitude to you as Speakers for your efforts in coordinating and motivating the support of your delegations to the PAP and instilling in them an appreciation of the fierce urgency of the moment that confronted the Parliament during the proceedings of the past election.

“As a result of your influence and your resolute commitment to our institution’s stability, the elections of the Bureau were conducted seamlessly with an orderly transfer of power; today, I am pleased to announce that the PAP is back,” he said underscoring that from day one of the inception of the Bureau of the 6th Parliament, there was an incredible commitment and dedication to our new vision of “Reviving, Renewing, Repositioning and Reinvigorating the Pan African Parliament”.

H.E Charumbira also expressed his optimism on the capabilities of the Speakers.

“I am confident that through this Conference, we can amplify the imperative of underlying a parliamentary dimension to the implementation and domestication of the African Union seminal declarations and legal instruments such as ACDEG, Agenda 2063 and AfCFTA and incorporate them as an integral element in revitalizing Africa’s economic fundamentals with a corresponding potential to curb this upsurge in political instabilities across the continent.”

While addressing the Conference, H.E Sidie Mohamed Tunis, Speaker of Economic Community of West African (ECOWAS) shared his experience on sustaining the operations of Parliaments in the COVID-19 induced New Normal through Transformative Parliamentary Leadership. He further explained that ECOWAS Parliament has sustained its operations and visibility through effective ICT strategies that promote virtual and online meetings, sessions, and engagements.

He also underscored that as a result of the committed leadership and effective transition to operating procedures that conforms to current realities, the ECOWAS Parliament has successfully carried out more functions typical and befitting of a parliament.

H.E Ambassador Minata Samate Cessouma, Commissioner for Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development, African Union Commission (AUC) made her presentation focusing on African Union theme for 2022, Maputo Declaration on Agriculture and Food Security, the Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for Shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods (2014) and the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) (2003).

“Heads of States made commitments to improve Agriculture, well-being for citizens and increase finance on Agriculture so as to eliminate hunger in Africa. This means improving national budgets dedicated to agriculture and nutrition. We are also calling upon you Speakers to mobilise your governments to honour commitments made on various Declarations and Protocols,” she said.

Benin President of the National Assembly, H.E Louis Vlavonou bemoaned hunger and poverty that is affecting Africa: “Africa must prioritise Agriculture in order for us to defeat hunger and poverty. By putting Agriculture ahead we will be as well improving our nutrition systems for our people. With better nutrition systems our population will grow; let us not forget that with growing population the economy also grows and stabilises,” he said.

Also present at Conference was Dr Lul Riek, Regional Coordinator at Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) who shared his applauded presentation titled: “Enhancing Africa’s Post Covid-19 Economic Recovery: The Role of National and Regional Parliaments” which spelt hope for Africa.

Dr Riek underlined Africa CDC’s willingness to work very closely with PAP to ensure that African Union (AU) policies and decisions on health emergencies are formulated, advocated, and implemented. He also urged African legislators to ensure implementation of continental commitments (Abuja Declaration) and engage with Ministers of Health.